7 Harry Hogan – Miss Pinkerton’s Ghost

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“I see. That’s very admirable, Miss Pinkerton, and I see no reason for anyone else to know, unless it becomes necessary in order to protect you. First we have to find out exactly what’s going on.”

“Yes, we do. Because if I’m not being watched, then I guess Grandfather Germain’s ghost has come back to haunt the place after all.”

“Grandfather Germain?”

Nodding her head, she chuckled again. “He always said he would come back to haunt the place if it was ever sold outside the family. It hasn’t been, of course, but I have been thinking about it lately.”

“Because you don’t feel safe here anymore?”

“It is a big house for one old lady to ramble around in, but I do love the place, especially the woods and the trails. I have people to take care of the grounds and clean the house. There is an estate income from investments to take care of that. All of which means that I am free to pursue my own interests.”

“All the more reason to solve this mystery so you can feel safe here again,” Harry said. “Tell me about these sounds. When do you usually hear them? Day or night?”

“Both. And not always at the same hour.”

“Can you describe what they sound like?”

After a minute or two of silence, she finally replied. “It changes. I’ve heard what sounds like an animal’s claws scratching at the exterior, maybe seeking shelter. Sometimes it’s a kind of scraping sound, more like fingernails being drawn across a chalkboard. And then… then there’s a softer, almost rhythmic swishing sound that reminds me of when you’re sweeping the porch with an old-fashioned broom, the ones with the straw-like bristles.”

Harry nodded. “I use one sometimes to sweep leaves off the driveway. Scratching sounds could be squirrels trying to get into the attic and you don’t want that either.”

“Most definitely not! It was bad enough when they got into the shed out back.”

“Interesting,” Harry said. “Have you ever heard footsteps?”

“I have not,” she said slowly, “and I have wondered, why not? But of course, the house is surrounded by grass which would muffle any footsteps, would it not?”

“Yes, it would.” Better not to mention that any prowler who was good at what he did would be wearing soft-soled shoes to minimize sound.

“But would I not hear them on the front porch or the back verandah?”

“Maybe, maybe not.” He stood up. “I will check the police file on your case, see what their observations were and we’ll go from there. I’ll also take a look around the house outside so I’ll be familiar with the layout when I read the reports.”

“Take as much time as you need.”

He paused a moment, looking at her thoughtfully. “Do you believe in ghosts, Miss Pinkerton?”

“No, I don’t, Mr. Hogan. That’s why I can talk about such things without fear. I do believe there are things in this life that we do not understand but ghosts? No, I prefer to think there is a logical explanation for everything.”

Harry smiled. “So do I, Miss Pinkerton. I’ll see you soon.”

“Thank you, Mr. Hogan.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

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Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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